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The Official Google Blog

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Last Build Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2016 23:00:00 +0000


The power of Hour of Code with Google CS FirstThe power of Hour of Code with Google CS FirstCS Education Program Manager

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 23:00:00 +0000

Editor’s Note: Next week kicks off #CSEdWeek, the 8th annual celebration of Computer Science Education. Today we’re looking back at an inspiring story from last year’s CSEdWeek — a Los Angeles school that kickstarted a movement to bring computer science education to students after participating in a CSFirst activity. Stay tuned to hear more #CSEdWeek announcements next week. And if you have a great story to share with us about CS First in your district or school, we’d love to hear! Please share with us on Twitter or in our CS First Google+ Community. Lynwood Unified School District is south of Los Angeles, nestled among Watts, Compton and Downey. William Gideon, LUSD’s director of research and evaluation and a former engineer, has been working towards bringing more educational resources to the district. He recognized the need for more computer science (CS) resources in the school system, yet wanted to be strategic about the programs he brought to Lynwood.Last year, while Mr. Gideon attended the California STEM Symposium, he discovered Google CS First, a program that provides free CS curriculum for classroom and after-school programs. Looking back on that time, he said:  “I was immediately skeptical because there have been many times before when I’ve heard corporate America claim to support education, but they really didn't. It was all talk, no action or true support.”Despite his misgivings, Mr. Gideon spoke with the Google team and found out more information about the resources for students as well as teachers. They also told him more about Hour of Code, a one-hour coding tutorial designed for all ages. In the end, he was persuaded to try Hour of Code with LUSD’s elementary and middle schools.LUSD had never participated in Hour of Code or CSEdweek before, so LUSD’s Technology Services jumped into action to ensure teachers had what they needed to do the activity in their classrooms. The district also tried to get local university students to help out, but when that proved impossible due to college exam schedules, they forged ahead. Says Mr. Gideon: “We were on our own. However, we didn’t let that stop us.”Despite these challenges, the effort was a success. In fact, teachers, students and staff were so inspired and excited that the district leadership decided to implement the full CS First program for all schools in Lynwood. Within a few weeks, 18 teachers were up and running after learning the tool, resulting in 200 students participating in CS First in the spring of 2016. Lynwood Unified School District’s success with Google CS First and Hour of Code helped kickstart more efforts to get students and teachers engaged with computer science, like digital learning coaches and summer clubs. This fall, they’ve added additional CS-focused resources for K-8 students, with programs like Tynker,, Osmo, Dash and Dot, and of course, CS First. With technology support for students, no one stays behind. Shirley Giacoman LUSD Teacher One year later, LUSD elementary/middle school students and teachers are excited and optimistic about STEM and CS. More than 1,200 LUSD students have coded for a total of 9,735 hours in 76 CS First Clubs. Students have access to 8,000 computers to share via Chromebook carts — up from zero just a year ago. And LUSD staff is getting ready for this year’s CSEdweek and the newest Hour of Code activity, Gumball’s Coding Adventure.Lynwood has made huge strides in its CS education offerings… and it all started with just one Hour of Code. This CSEdWeek, we hope you’ll see for yourself what an Hour of Code can do. Learn more about Google’s CSEdWeek offerings on our website.[...]After participating in a CS First activity during CSEdWeek last year, Lynwood Unified School District kicked off a movement to bring computer science education to all its students.

Have a holly jolly time in Santa’s Village — now openHave a holly jolly time in Santa’s Village — now openGoogle Marketing North Pole

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

Santa’s elves are back at the North Pole working to make sure old Kris Kringle is ready for his journey around the world on December 24 — and that means Santa’s Village is now officially open. Each day until the sleigh takes off, we’ll unlock a new experience that’ll get even the biggest grinch into the holiday spirit.   


From sliding penguins to dancing elves, the residents of the North Pole are having the time of their lives, and now you can join in the merriment. This year you’ll find several new games in Santa’s Village, including four new ones only available on the Android app — including Present Quest, where you try your hand at recovering Santa’s misplaced gifts out in the real world.


Just in time for CSEdWeek this December 5 through 11, we’ll unwrap three coding games to help kids of all ages learn the basics of coding. In Code Boogie, for example, you can help Santa’s elves learn dance moves by combining patterns and creating sequences.


Within the gates of Santa’s Village, the new educator resource page is filled with lesson plans and educational games spanning subjects from computer science to geography. Teachers and parents can sort by category to easily find and download lesson plans for use in the classroom or at home.


Be on the lookout for more holiday cheer throughout the month, and don’t forget to return on December 23-24 (depending on your time zone) to track Santa’s journey around the world as he brings gifts and joy to people worldwide. Until then, make merry with the residents of the North Pole on web (desktop and mobile Android/iOS), Android app, Google Maps (desktop and mobile), Android TV and Chrome.  

(image) Santa's Village is now open with new educational games and experiences for all

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It takes a teacher to inspire and be inspiredIt takes a teacher to inspire and be inspired

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: At Education on Air, Google’s free online conference tomorrow, December 3, we’ll be celebrating educators and exploring the future of education and technology.  During the event, Jennie Magiera will be moderating a live panel featuring educators who have pioneered technology at their schools, along with two students who have benefited from these teachers’ work. Register now to hear from the panelists live tomorrow, December 3. Jennie Magiera “Too often, teachers are the last people to sing their own praises, even though they’re constantly inspiring their students, their colleagues and their students’ parents, ” says Jennie Magiera, chief technology officer at Des Plaines School District 62. “We’ve all had at least one teacher who inspired us to become who we are today.” Tomorrow, December 3, Jennie will be moderating a live panel during Education on Air featuring educators who have pioneered technology at their schools, along with two students who have benefited from these teachers’ work. The panel will include:Kevin Brookhouser, teacher at York SchoolMaria, Kevin’s studentRafranz Davis, executive director of professional and digital learning at Lufkin ISDAndrew, Rafranz’s student Jennie shared a few questions with our panelists to learn more about the teachers who helped shape them into who they are today. To hear from the panelists live, join us for Education on Air tomorrow, December 3.Jennie: Our theme for this panel is “It takes a teacher.” When you were a student, who inspired you and how? Kevin Brookhouser Kevin: I took a video writing class in high school with Jim Talone, who is now retired.  For our final project he asked us to go into the community and find stories that we would then produce and distribute to a real-world audience. This was the first time a teacher gave me creative autonomy, allowing me to pursue what I thought was meaningful and share that project with a real audience. It motivated me to invest more time and work harder than I had ever worked. That experience has stuck with me.Rafranz: I was inspired by Dr. Vanessa Huse, a professor of  math education for pre-service teaching (education provided to student teachers). She was an important mentor to me and is still part of my life now. She was one of the only people who understood the struggles that I’d face as a teacher of color, even though she doesn’t come from the same background that I do. She made sure I had mentors who were veteran teachers — people I could learn from and collaborate with. She even introduced me to Dr. Evelyn Boyd Granville, the second African American woman to hold a degree in math. She invited Dr. Granville  to speak to our class and share her story. In many ways, Dr. Huse knew what I needed before I did.Jennie: We couldn’t invite every teacher that inspires us to be on this panel, though I’m sure you would agree that we wish we could. If you could have brought along one colleague, who would you have picked?Kevin: There are so many teachers I’d pick. The first colleague who comes to mind is our high school art teacher, Logan Parsons.  She has all of her students create self-portraits. She guides the students to think about how they want to portray themselves, whether in an abstract way or something more realistic. The results are unique and reflective of each individual. I’m inspired by how much students seem to get out of this project and from working with Logan.   Rafranz Davis  Rafranz: It’s so hard to pick one teacher! One of our first and second-[...]

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Announcing Google Play’s “Best of 2016”Announcing Google Play’s “Best of 2016”

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

As the year draws to a close, we’re thrilled to announce Google Play’s most popular apps, games, music, movies, TV shows and books globally in 2016.The Force and Harry Potter were no match for a different kind of superhero as Deadpool and “Deadpool Kills the Universe” dominated the movie and book charts this year. Game of Thrones kept The Walking Dead away to once again claim the Iron Throne as the most popular TV show of 2016. Twenty One Pilots had no need to feel “Stressed Out” as their single came in as the number one most streamed song of the year, but don’t feel “Sorry” for Justin Bieber who came in at number two. And, of course, Pokemon GO captured the top trending game spot.Check out Google Play’s top five lists for the most popular content around the world in 2016 below. For complete local lists, visit Google Play.Google Play's Global Best of 2016 ListsTOP TRENDING APPS of 2016Face Changer 2Lumyer - Photo & Selfie EditorCastbox - Podcast Radio MusicEmoji Keyboard ProMSQRDTOP TRENDING GAMES of 2016Pokémon GOClash RoyaleTraffic Riderslither.ioDream League SoccerTOP 5 STREAMED SONGS of 2016Stressed Out, Twenty One PilotsSorry, Justin BieberOne Dance (feat. WizKid & Kyla), DrakeDon't Let Me Down (feat. Daya), The ChainsmokersMe, Myself & I, G-EazyTOP 5 MOVIES of 2016DeadpoolStar Wars: The Force AwakensZootopiaCaptain America: Civil WarBatman v Superman: Dawn Of JusticeTOP 5 TV SHOWS of 2016           Game of ThronesThe Walking DeadThe Big Bang TheoryMr. RobotThe FlashTOP 5 BOOKS of 2016Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen BunnHarry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack ThorneThe Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula HawkinsThe Art of War by Tzu SunMe Before You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes[...]

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Impact Portraits: success stories with Google for EducationImpact Portraits: success stories with Google for EducationEvergreen Education GroupEvergreen Education Group

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:30:00 +0000

Editor’s Note: We’re often asked by educators, “what impact do you see with Google technology in schools?” Last year we engaged Evergreen Education Group on a journey around the world to answer that question. During Education on Air on Saturday December 3rd, we will share the findings in Impact Portraits. These portraits demonstrate success with Google for Education through the lens of teachers, students and administrators. To hear Linda Darling-Hammond lead a discussion on Impact Portraits, register now for Education On Air. At Evergreen Education Group we’ve studied K-12 digital education for fourteen years. Among the most important developments we have seen is the proliferation of devices in the classroom, whether through bring-your-own-device, district-led one-to-one programs or other channels. Relatively little study to date has examined how devices are successfully deployed and what their impact has been.We were therefore thrilled that Google was interested in learning the answers to these questions, and in particular that they understood the study required speaking directly with the district and school leaders, curriculum and instruction specialists, and teachers at the forefront of the use of technology. Particularly they wanted to understand the impact of Chromebooks and G Suite for Education across schools. Over the course of 16 months we spoke with more than 100 district and school leaders in six countries representing more than 880,000 students, analyzed each school’s documents and data, conducted surveys of administrators, teachers and students, and reviewed surveys the schools conducted. Our goal at every step was to let educators tell their stories, be honest about the challenges and failures, and celebrate the successes in the vein of highlighting these wonderful schools and providing guidance as schools continue down the digital path. Early in the project we were asked to complete the sentence “Technology in the classroom equals…what?” Our answer: when considered alone, technology equals nothing. Technology is a tool that can be used well, or it can be used poorly. But when technology was combined with four key factors, it could help the school flourish. What are these key factors? Planning, Professional learning, Patience, and Support.Why are these factors necessary? Because supporting the teachers who are using technology and transforming classrooms takes time—time measured in years, not weeks or months.What does success look like? It takes different forms. But one common factor is that when educators speak of their success, they rarely lead with technology. Instead they talk about personalization, student engagement, and the role of teachers—all of these supported by technology. This is about weaving technology into everything we do. Education technology is a tool, not a strategy. Dr. Mike Pressler Maine East High School The findings reveal examples of accomplishment and achievement from schools in different geographic regions, of varied sizes, enrolling a diversity of students. We—and the educators that we interviewed—would never suggest that the use of technology is a silver bullet that will in itself improve student achievement. However, based on our review of these schools, we are confident in saying that technology, when well planned and implemented, can be a key component of a successful digital strategy that has a positive impact on student outcomes. Charlotte-Mecklenburg (US), the world’s largest Chromebook deployment, outperformed the state and other large North Carolina school districts in exceeding student growth expectations in 2015-2016 and saw a 20% increase in graduation rate. At McK[...]

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Google’s European Growth Engine: 2 million trained and countingGoogle’s European Growth Engine: 2 million trained and countingPresident

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:30:00 +0000

When we first launched the Growth Engine programme in February 2015 , we set a target of training 1 million Europeans in critical digital skills. Within a year we’d reached our goal, and extended it to 2 million.Today, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve hit that target -  we’ve now helped 2 million Europeans learn about and improve upon digital skills.That included people like Carlo Reviglio; now an intern at BikeSquare, a development company that works closely with the Italian tourism company Itaway, which helps tourists rent electric bikes. Carlo learned SEO and digital marketing skills through courses offered as part of Google’s Crescere in Digitale  programme, and was then selected for a traineeship run in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Labour in the framework of the EU Commission Youth Guarantee.  That traineeship led to his internship with the BikeSquare team, where Carlo has worked to improve the platform’s performance, doubling in the number of e-bike rentals through Itaway in just a year.Carlo’s success is remarkable--but happily not entirely unique: He’s one of scores of Europeans trained in digital skills through Google programmes. According to the European Commission, almost half the EU population (47%) is not properly digitally skilled, resulting in 700,000 unfilled jobs by 2020 because of this skills gap. Our programmes across Europe have a goal of helping as many people as possible make the most of the digital opportunity brought by the Internet. With Commissioner Oettinger in Brussels We heard the call from the European Commission and others: we must all work together to fill this skills gap and so today we’re delighted to have this work recognised by Commissioner Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy. Today Commissioner Oettinger presented our Growth Engine programme with an award for helping businesses and individuals succeed in digital.Our programmes cater for everyone from entrepreneurs, to small businesses, to app developers and individuals. People of all ages, backgrounds and interests have taken part in our training programmes.But there’s still more to be done, and so today we pledged to the EU Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition.Over the coming year, we pledge to continue to support Europeans to gain essential digital skills through the following initiatives:Digital Workshop – our digital skills training programme which provides free online and offline training training to anyone looking to gain essential digital marketing skills, including young job seekers, entrepreneurs and small businesses.Funding 10,000 Android scholarships via Udacity and in partnership with Bertelsmann for EU mobile developers.Computer Science First - a free program focused on increasing 9-14 yo students’ exposure to computer science education, through after-school and in-school programs led by teachers.We’ll also be deepening our partnership with national, regional and local governments, as well as private sector businesses, to expand our national training programmes beyond the EU.My hope is that, a year from now, tens of thousands more Europeans will be able to share similar stories to Carlo’s. There’s so much more to do, and we’re here to help.[...]We’ve now helped 2 million Europeans learn about and improve upon digital skills. There’s so much more to do, and Google's here to help.

Android Pay says Kia OraAndroid Pay says Kia OraGlobal Head of Payment Products

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 18:30:00 +0000

Whether you’re shopping for new summer threads or brunching at your local favourite, your Android phone will be all you need as you walk out the door. Starting today, Android Pay is available in New Zealand, helping you pay for things simply and securely with your Android phone. You will be able to use Android Pay everywhere contactless payments are accepted, including your favourite shops like The Warehouse, Domino’s, BP, BurgerFuel, McDonalds and more. Just wake your phone and tap as you would with your card. It’s that simple. And businesses across the country with contactless terminals don't need to do anything else to be able to accept Android Pay in store. To start using Android Pay you’ll need to download the Android Pay app on Google Play and have a BNZ Flexi Debit Visa card. Android Pay keeps your card information secure by not sharing your actual card number with stores when you pay - while allowing you to continue enjoying all the rewards and benefits of your cards. Get started with Android Pay in New Zealand today: download the app on Google Play, add your card and start shopping. It’s as easy as Tap. Pay. Done.[...]Android Pay launches in New Zealand, helping you pay for things simply and securely with your Android phone.

Customize your G Suite experience with App Maker and Recommended appsCustomize your G Suite experience with App Maker and Recommended appsVice President of Engineering, G Suite

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000

G Suite is designed to help you do your best work, whether that’s through real-time collaboration that brings your teams together or machine intelligence that speeds up everyday tasks. But we understand your company has unique needs and workflows that G Suite alone wasn’t built to address. We also know your teams rely on many third-party apps for things like CRM, support, and project management to get their job done. So today, we’re announcing two new ways to customize and extend your experience on the G Suite platform: App Maker, a new low-code developer tool for building custom enterprise applications, and the addition of seven new partners to our “Recommended for G Suite” third-party partner program.Introducing App Maker, a new way to build powerful apps for your business.App Maker is a low-code, application development tool that lets you quickly build and deploy custom apps tailored to your organization’s needs. Whether you’re looking for better ways to onboard new team members, staff projects, or approve employee travel requests, App Maker helps you build an app for that in days instead of months. Go from idea to app, fast: App Maker makes it easy for IT or even citizen developers (including analysts and system administrators) to quickly iterate from a prototype all the way to deployed app. It offers a powerful cloud-based IDE that features built-in templates, a drag-and-drop UI, and point-and-click data modeling to accelerate your app development efforts. App Maker also embraces open, and popular standards like HTML, CSS, Javascript and Google’s material design visual framework, so developers can build apps quickly, in a development environment that leverages their existing skills and knowledge.  Build integrated, tailor-made solutions for every need: App Maker lets you build a range of applications customized to meet the needs of your organization and connects to a wide range of data sources and APIs. This unique flexibility starts with built-in support for G Suite products as well as popular services such as Maps, Contacts, Groups and more. You can also leverage other Google Cloud services such as the Directory API and Prediction API, or third-party APIs, to create richer, more intelligent application experiences.Focus on delivery, not infrastructure: App Maker is built on the same secure and trusted infrastructure as G Suite apps like Gmail, Drive and Docs. Developers can safely deploy custom apps in the cloud without worrying about servers, capacity planning, infrastructure security and monitoring that would otherwise require internal support from IT. Over the past few months, we’ve previewed App Maker with a handful of large G Suite customers and many have already built and deployed applications to their organizations. We’re also working with the following consulting partners to help deliver solutions to our joint customers: Appsbroker, gPartner, G-Workplace, Ignite Synergy, Maven Wave, PwC, SADA Systems, and Tempus Nova.Here are a few ways that enterprise customers and partners have used App Maker to make everyday business processes simpler and more efficient--whether it’s to track suspicious login activities, take analog claims processes and make them digital, or track office inventory orders. If you’re interested in trying out App Maker, it’s available today through our Early Adopter Program for G Suite Business customers. Apply for the EAP here.Announcing new apps for the ‘Recommended for G Suite’ programWhile G Suite helps your teams communicate and collaborate more easily, we get that you also rely on third-party apps to manage other aspects of your business including sales, marketing, and operations. We want to make it easy for you to integrate these solutions with G [...]

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Adding 50 new tours for schools with Google ExpeditionsAdding 50 new tours for schools with Google ExpeditionsExpeditions Product Manager

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 10:00:00 +0000

Since launching the Google Expeditions Pioneer Programme in September, we’ve visited over 200,000 students across the UK. They’ve gone on hundreds of virtual journeys, from the peak of Mont Blanc to standing on the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. And today, we’re adding 50 new adventures to their classrooms with our virtual reality field trips taking the total number of expeditions now available to over 400.Students can now travel back in time to visit the famous warship Mary Rose, discover Viking settlements and even try to solve one of the greatest mysteries of all time, Richard III’s death. As well as covering Science, Art, English and History, the launch of this new content will also include several Expeditions that explore a variety of careers. These will invite students to experience a day in the life of those who work as an app developer, surgeon, chef, outdoors activity instructor and many more. Teachers will also be able to take students on a tour to explore the early life of Robert Burns, experience the Aurora Borealis and learn how magnetic forces create such magical skies, or even go inside a plant to see how photosynthesis happens. Learn more about one of History’s greatest mysteries on the new expeditions about the life and death of Richard III. Working with partners such as Twig, we’ve been able to create many more experiences for Google Expeditions - allowing us to regularly launch new content. Additionally, we’ve worked  with TES to develop over 100 lesson plans linked to Expeditions - created by teachers who are already using the app with their students. Google Expeditions brings lessons to life The feedback from teachers and reactions of students that are using Expeditions has been powerful and we are looking forward to visiting more schools across the UK in the coming 6 months. The Pioneer Programme is completely free and the team bring all the equipment needed to get started, including over 400 Expeditions to choose from. For more information and to sign up your school today visit[...]Today we’re adding 50 new adventures (in the form of virtual reality field trips) for classrooms around the world.

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4 ways University City School District fosters learning equity4 ways University City School District fosters learning equityDirector of Innovation Learning

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 16:30:00 +0000

Editor’s note: As part of the ExploreEDU event series, schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors and invite neighboring educators to learn from their firsthand experience using Google tools to innovate and improve. To see if there is an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. For those who can’t join in person, we’ve asked the host schools to share their experiences and tips in a blog post. Today’s guest author is Robert Dillon, Director of Innovation Learning at University City School District in the St. Louis area. They will host an ExploreEDU event on Dec. 6 with Tierney Brothers.All students deserve an excellent, engaging education. A big part of our mission at University City School District is to bring rich learning experiences and digital resources to all of our kids, 70 percent of whom are affected by poverty daily. I want to share a few of the ways we’re designing a more equitable learning environment for our students.1. Igniting positive risk-taking Taking a new approach to learning requires shifting the mentality of teachers and administrators from compliance and fear to risk and innovation. This starts with senior leadership setting an example, creating a sense of urgency and communicating openly. Our superintendent and principals acknowledge there’s no single formula for creating change, and no one has all the answers; so we need to be willing to fail and to iterate. This culture of experimentation and transparency liberates teachers to try new things, and encourages the team to solve hard problems together. We’ve used Google Classroom as a platform for innovative teachers to gather across buildings to discuss ideas, provide feedback to our education technology solution partners, and decrease any sense of isolation in the district.Sharing information is key to building trust and energy in the system.  We’re constantly talking with other districts, and bringing people together at events like ExploreEDU to break down the walls between educators in our region. We’re also meeting with all of our principals to talk about their moonshot ideas and the resources they might need to realize these changes.2. Expanding capacity through the communityThe district leadership team also harnesses the power of our community by enlisting parents to share their expertise with us. For instance, one student’s parent who previously led a nonprofit organization is helping my team coordinate parent focus groups to test new ideas surrounding learning academies, competency-based learning, and building a greater sense of belonging in our schools.Other parents get involved by leading student groups: one parent who sees the learning power with teaching robotics leads our middle school robotics club. Other parents who are active in the arts connect us to community organizations and build relationships with their leaders so we make the most of our partnership. This extends our network of teachers and mentors, giving students access to a breadth of knowledge and experience.3. Improving learning through technologyWe’re able to try new approaches to learning because we have the tools to support it; we also recognize that learning comes first. We selected our technology platform to meet specific goals: increasing collaboration and teaching real-world skills.  Those goals drove us to choose Google for Education which we’ve used for over six years now to help students, teachers and administrators create and share information. In our fifth grade classes that are learning through robotics class, students use Google Docs to write stories about their experiences building robots. They now have the ability to share their stories with fifth graders across the region who are working on similar projects. The power of storytelling, and its[...]

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Detecting diabetic eye disease with machine learningDetecting diabetic eye disease with machine learningMD Ph.D., Product Manager

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 16:00:00 +0000

Diabetic retinopathy — an eye condition that affects people with diabetes — is the fastest growing cause of blindness, with nearly 415 million diabetic patients at risk worldwide. The disease can be treated if detected early, but if not, it can lead to irreversible blindness.One of the most common ways to detect diabetic eye disease is to have a specialist examine pictures of the back of the eye and determine whether there are signs of the disease, and if so, how severe it is. While annual screening is recommended for all patients with diabetes, many people live in areas without easy access to specialist care. That means millions of people aren’t getting the care they need to prevent loss of vision.A few years ago, a Google research team began studying whether machine learning could be used to screen for diabetic retinopathy (DR). Today, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, we’ve published our results: a deep learning algorithm capable of interpreting signs of DR in retinal photographs, potentially helping doctors screen more patients, especially in underserved communities with limited resources. Examples of retinal photographs that are taken to screen for DR. A healthy retina can be seen on the left; the retina on the right has lesions, which are indicative of bleeding and fluid leakage in the eye. Working with a team of doctors in India and the U.S., we created a dataset of 128,000 images and used them to train a deep neural network to detect diabetic retinopathy. We then compared our algorithm’s performance to another set of images examined by a panel of board-certified ophthalmologists. Our algorithm performs on par with the ophthalmologists, achieving both high sensitivity and specificity. For more details, see our post on the Research blog.We’re excited by the results, but there’s a lot more to do before an algorithm like this can be used widely. For example, interpretation of a 2D retinal photograph is only one step in the process of diagnosing diabetic eye disease — in some cases, doctors use a 3D imaging technology to examine various layers of a retina in detail. Our colleagues at DeepMind are working on applying machine learning to that method. In the future, these two complementary methods might be used together to assist doctors in the diagnosis of a wide spectrum of eye diseases.Automated, highly accurate screening methods have the potential to assist doctors in evaluating more patients and quickly routing those who need help to a specialist. We hope this study will be one of many examples to come demonstrating the ability of machine learning to help solve important problems in healthcare.[...]A machine learning algorithm could help doctors screen more patients for diabetic retinopathy — the fastest growing cause of blindness worldwide.

Toyota powers thousands of European showrooms with Chrome digital signageToyota powers thousands of European showrooms with Chrome digital signage IT Manager for Customer Retail and Product Systems

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 10:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: Today we hear from Steven Simons, IT Manager for Customer Retail and Product Systems at Toyota Motor, Europe. Read how the world’s largest automaker used Chrome digital signage to provide its showroom customers an innovative and immersive customer experience.It’s no secret that the internet has transformed how people buy cars — a Toyota study shows an increasing number of people research online before visiting a retailer. In fact, the study found, most people purchase a car after visiting only one showroom. So at Toyota Motor Europe, we set out to create a more engaging customer experience by extending our customers’ digital travels into the showroom, and connect browsing online with seeing our cars in person.We first experimented with digital signage in our showrooms in 2014 to display information about our cars in ways that reflected what customers saw online. However, the system we were using was expensive, unstable and difficult to maintain and manage. So, we turned to Chrome in late 2015 and replaced our existing digital signage with Asus Chromeboxes connected to 42-inch flatscreen TVs. We manage and program all of the devices centrally from Toyota headquarters. Retailers just install the Chromeboxes and TVs, and they’re up and running. That way, retailers can focus on their customers rather than on technology.The Chrome-based digital signage has become an important sales tool. It displays videos about Toyota vehicles, customized according to the showroom area where the signs are located. So, if a system is installed in a showroom where hybrid cars are popular, the videos highlight hybrids.Salespeople use the screens to show customers in-depth information about Toyota vehicles. Thanks to Chrome, salespeople can easily answer customers’ technical questions about things like a car’s Bluetooth capabilities, leading to a smoother sales process. The signs also feature a car configurator, which allows customers to explore and personalize their vehicles. Consumers typically come in with plenty of online research in hand, and they can pick right back up with these configurations in store on our digital signage. Across Europe, 100,000 customers a month use the signage. We’ve deployed Chrome digital signage in 3,000 showrooms so far, and plan to install between 7,000 and 10,000 digital signs in total across 3,600 Toyota retailers in Europe. Google Cloud partner Fourcast worked with us on the deployment with a packaged, end-to-end solution, and ensured the systems were delivered on a tight, five-day timeframe.The Chrome-based digital signage is more reliable and easier to deploy than the previous solution, reducing time spent on maintenance, management and troubleshooting. It also saves us on hardware and deployment costs.Chrome-based digital signage has done everything we hoped it would. Its features let us show off what’s great about Toyota cars. It’s popular with sales staff and customers, as evidenced by increased usage since it was deployed. Retailer demand is greater than we estimated, showing that it’s an important sales enabler. Overall, the system is meeting our customers’ needs while reinforcing our reputation as a technically sophisticated company. Thanks to Chrome digital signage, our customers enjoy a more unified online and offline sales experience.[...]The Chrome-based digital signage is more reliable and easier to deploy than the previous solution, reducing time spent on maintenance, management and troubleshooting

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Our most detailed view of Earth across space and timeOur most detailed view of Earth across space and timeProgram Manager, Google Earth Engine

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 08:00:00 +0000

In 2013, we released Google Earth Timelapse, our most comprehensive picture of the Earth's changing surface. This interactive experience enabled people to explore these changes like never before—to watch the sprouting of Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands, the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, and the impressive urban expansion of Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we're making our largest update to Timelapse yet, with four additional years of imagery, petabytes of new data, and a sharper view of the Earth from 1984 to 2016. We’ve even teamed up again with our friends at TIME to give you an updated take on compelling locations.  Meandering river in Nyingchi, Tibet, China [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*) Leveraging the same techniques we used to improve Google Maps and Google Earth back in June, the new Timelapse reveals a sharper view of our planet, with truer colors and fewer distracting artifacts. A great example of this is San Francisco and Oakland in California: San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge reconstruction [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*) There’s much more to see, including glacial movement in Antarctica, urban growth, forest gain and loss, and infrastructure development: Shirase Glacier, Antarctica [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus) Hourihan Glacier, Antarctica [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*) Dalian Liaoning, China [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*) Nuflo de Chavez, Bolivia [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*) O'Hare Airport, Chicago, Illinois [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*) Using Google Earth Engine, we sifted through about three quadrillion pixels—that's 3 followed by 15 zeroes—from more than 5,000,000 satellite images. For this latest update, we had access to more images from the past, thanks to the Landsat Global Archive Consolidation Program, and fresh images from two new satellites, Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2.We took the best of all those pixels to create 33 images of the entire planet, one for each year. We then encoded these new 3.95 terapixel global images into just over 25,000,000 overlapping multi-resolution video tiles, made[...]

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Beautiful photos for your computer and phoneBeautiful photos for your computer and phoneProduct Manager

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 21:30:00 +0000

From striking skylines to captivating vistas, talented photographers share beautiful, eye catching work on Google+ every day. To bring these photos to a wider audience, we’ve long showcased a selection of them on TVs and monitors around the world via Google Fiber and millions of Chromecast devices.

Now, we’re pleased to be able to make these beautiful photos by our members even more accessible by bringing them to your computers and phones. With our new Featured Photos screensaver for Mac, you can display stunning, high-resolution photography from our Google+ members whenever your computer is inactive. If you have an Android device, you can use the Wallpapers app to display these same photos as background images on your home or lock screen. The photos are attributed to their photographers so it’s easy to find and follow the ones you like on Google+.


If you enjoy taking photos and would like to have yours considered, all you have to do is share them publicly on Google+ (if you don’t want to be considered, you can turn this option off in your Google+ settings). If you’re an avid photographer and want to increase your chance of being considered, we encourage you to join the Google+ Create program. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your work globally.

(image) Display stunning, high-resolution photography from Google+ members whenever your computer is inactive with the new Featured Photos screensaver for Mac.

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Google and Bertelsmann launch mobile digital skills initiatives with Udacity - 10,000 Android scholarships available for EU developersGoogle and Bertelsmann launch mobile digital skills initiatives with Udacity - 10,000 Android scholarships available for EU developersVP

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 13:45:00 +0000

The great thing about the web is that it enables anyone - from anywhere, of any age, and any skillset - to start a new business, grow an existing one, become an entrepreneur, a developer or a content creator or hone a new skill. From Berlin to Birmingham we’ve met people across Europe who are doing just that - developing the digital know-how needed to achieve their dreams.Like Evrard in France, who works for GreenRiver, a small company providing private cruises along the river Seine and the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris. He joined our training programme Google pour Les Pros, where he was trained by a Google AdWords advisor over three months. He learned how to launch digital marketing campaigns and discovered other tools that helped increase their online visibility. He told us, “After Google pour Les Pros training our business grew by 30% and sales grew by 60% in one year”. Green River is now using Evrard’s learning as a stepping stone to further success.Evrard is just one of the nearly 2 million people we’ve trained over the last 2 years as part of our Growth Engine programme to help close the digital skills gap among Europeans. And yet there’s still more work to be done. On current projections, the growing gap between skills required and the training that workers receive, has lead the EU to predict that almost a million ICT jobs would remain unfilled by 2020.That’s why today Google, Bertelsmann (the global media, services and education company) and e-learning provider Udacity are coming together with a goal of closing the mobile digital skills gap in Europe and preparing the new European workforce with the mobile development skills needed to help them get a job or start their own business. With Vishal Makhijani of Udacity and Steven Moran of Bertelsmann at Monday's announcement In Europe, more than half the population primarily uses their mobile phone to access the web, and that’s only increasing. This represents a huge opportunity for ambitious Europeans to join the more than 1.3 million developers in the region benefitting from the advancement of the mobile economy. According to Stackoverflow 2015 study, 42% of developers are self taught and could benefit from acquiring new expertise to take them to the next level. Android tops the list of new languages that developers want to learn.We want to help, which is why we’re funding 10,000 Android Developer training scholarships across the EU via Udacity. Aspiring developers can apply for one of 9,000 scholarships for an Android Basics course and more experienced programmers for one of 1,000 scholarships for the Associate Android Developer Fast Track, a training course that leads to Android developer certification, a key credential for the industry. Applications are open at the same time, Bertelsmann will start shifting skill-building and training budgets across its about 1,000 businesses towards ICT, in conjunction with Udacity’s training programs. In addition, starting next year, every qualified apprentice, student and trainee at Bertelsmann - about 2,000 women and men across Europe - will be granted a Nanodegree scholarship.By getting together with Bertelsmann and Udacity we aim to close the mobile digital skills gap, and help people to get the in-demand skills needed to get a job or advance their career. These scholarships are a chance for all aspiring mobile developers to make the most of the opportunity by mastering accredited digital skills that will pu[...]

Tipping the scales of success: Indonesia’s Durian Guy finds a new hungry audience onlineTipping the scales of success: Indonesia’s Durian Guy finds a new hungry audience onlineGoogle Editorial Elf

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 06:00:00 +0000

Since going online, Ucok Durian, or “Durian Guy,” has gone from selling 100 kg of Indonesia’s famous Medan durian at their stall everyday to nearly 40 tons a month. As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the Internet to grow their business, we spoke with Ananda Perwira, Ucok Durian’s marketing director (and brother to founder Johan Hasibuan), to find out how this startup is rapidly expanding across the Indonesian archipelago. Brothers Johan (l) and Ananda (r) of Ucok Durian (photo courtesy of Ucok Durian) Tell us your story. How did Ucok Durian begin?My brother, Johan Hasibuan, began peddling durians nearly 20 years ago. I’ve always loved durians, so when I realized how hard it is to find Medan durians outside of Medan, I figured I’d join him and develop the business. Since I came onboard earlier this year, my sister, parents and other relatives have also joined. Now it’s a family business. What inspired you to begin selling durians online?Using Google's Keyword Planner, I noticed that “durian Medan” is a popular search term on the Internet, but despite this, very few traders have a website selling durians online. I saw an opportunity and went for it. We built the website on WordPress and Hostinger, a free website hosting service. The website theme and plugins we use also are free.  Image courtesy of Ucok Durian That’s a great use of free resources. How else has the Internet helped your business? Before going online, we were only able to sell 100 kilograms of durian per day. We’d seen the impact that the Internet has had on many other businesses, but never imagined what it could do for a perishable product like ours. Today, thanks to the new customers we’ve found over the Internet, we’re reaching almost 40 tons a month. That’s 12 times more than we used to sell just a year ago! Wow, congratulations.  Now that sales have taken off, what is the farthest place to which you have mailed a durian? As a result of this growth, we’ve opened two warehouse distribution centers in Jakarta just this past September. These enable us to send Medan durians nearly 7,500km away, to Jayapura, the capital of Papua, which is Indonesia’s easternmost province. We also get orders from Malaysia, Singapore, and even as far as Saudi Arabia and the United States. We’re now working on ways to fulfill these orders, so we hope to start shipping overseas soon.  Ucok Durian's founder Johan says Medan durians from North Sumatra are loved for their unique bittersweet taste and are known as a delicacy across the country (photo courtesy of Ucok Durian)  Photo courtesy of Ucok Durian  [...]

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Celebrate the weekend with BuzzFeed stickers in Google AlloCelebrate the weekend with BuzzFeed stickers in Google AlloProduct Marketing

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 14:00:00 +0000

For many of us, Thanksgiving brings back memories of catching up with family and stuffing our face with turkey. It’s also a time when we return home and revisit old friends, habits and favorite spots. To help you celebrate all aspects of Thanksgiving, today we’re unveiling a new BuzzFeed sticker pack in Google Allo featuring artwork by BuzzFeed illustrator Kevin Valente.


Each sticker is animated, helping you say exactly what you mean in a way only BuzzFeed can. So if you’re going out with old friends or just being lazy at home, these stickers got your back during every blissful moment of this long weekend. Whether that’s:

Old friends got me like :))))))

That feeling when you have the day off to eat turkey


Back to reality on Monday :(


Our BuzzFeed sticker pack is available starting today, and you can download it from the sticker store in Google Allo on Android and iOS.

(image) A brand new sticker pack from BuzzFeed is now available in Google Allo.

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A totally rebuilt Sites, customer-tested and open for businessA totally rebuilt Sites, customer-tested and open for businessProduct Manager, G Suite

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000

Earlier this year, we announced that a totally rebuilt version of Google Sites was on the way. Since then, we’ve worked with a set of customers through an Early Adopter Program to test the new Sites and fine tune the experience. Today, the new Google Sites is ready for all customers. We’ve started turning customer feedback into new and improved features.  For example, some customers asked for the ability to measure how much engagement their sites were getting. You can now track site performance with Google Analytics. Other customers asked for more customization and different designs, so you can now choose between six themes to give your site the right look.Nadia Lee, a product and change manager at Dow Jones, tested the new Sites to build a few informational sites for her teams and had this to say: “Sites is much more user friendly than other tools I’ve used, especially for non-technical people. It’s nice that I can collaborate in real-time with colleagues and see the edits they’re making. And, the final product looks clean and well-designed.”Since its launch in 2008, Sites has made it possible for employees to build working team and project sites without writing a single line of code (no HTML, CSS or any other all-caps acronym.) But, web technologies have progressed a lot in the past decade, and the new Sites is an even more approachable way to build a site.Sites as easy to create as a docNow, it’s easier than ever to create a site and add text, links, images and more with a quick cut-and-paste, or simply drag-and-drop to rearrange and resize elements on the page.Sites integrated with your favorite appsThe new Sites is built to work with your favorite Google apps so you can insert content from the tools you use most. It’s easy to embed a schedule from Google Calendar, a video clip from Google Drive, or a location from Google Maps. You can also insert content from Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms and a live version will be presented within the site. Sites built togetherThe new Sites is the first truly collaborative tool for building team and project sites. Using the same technology as Google Docs, the new Sites brings real-time, multi-user coauthoring so the whole team can add and update a project site without worrying about conflicts or locked pages.Sites that are beautiful and functional on any screenThe new Sites also includes themes and layouts designed to intelligently scale and flex to any screen size, so they look great when you access them on a 30-inch monitor at your desk or on your smartphone during your commute. And, an integrated preview mode lets you see what your site will look like on a desktop, a tablet and a smartphone while you’re editing so you can build the most useful team and project sites.The new Google Sites is open for business. If you’re a G Suite customer with Google Sites enabled, you can get started building on the new Sites now or learn how to enable Sites in the Admin Console. Customers can continue to use classic Sites as we continue to add capabilities and improve the new Sites.[...]

How Burnsville High School students create project-based learningHow Burnsville High School students create project-based learningTeacher Teacher

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: As part of the ExploreEDU event series, schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors and invite neighboring educators to learn from their firsthand experience using Google tools to innovate and improve. To see if there is an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. For those that can’t join in person, we’ve asked the host schools to share their experiences and tips in a blog post. Today’s guest authors are Colleen Coleman and Anne Staum, teachers at Burnsville High School in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The district is hosting an event on December 1 and 2 with Best Buy for Education. No matter the path our students take, the ability to guide their own learning will be an important part of their lives. At Burnsville High School, we’ve put students at the center of their education by transitioning from a lesson-based approach to a project-based one, introducing more personalized instruction and engaging students as active participants in their education.We see technology as an essential tool in this evolution. Earlier this year, we introduced a 1:1 program schoolwide, which means all of our 2,700 students use Google Chromebooks in class and at home. We’re using tools like Chromebooks and G Suite for Education to ensure graduates are future-ready: comfortable with computing and online research, experienced in giving and receiving feedback, and confident creating content.Here are a few ways we’re inspiring project-based learning in the classroom:Boosting engagement with student-led content We believe students learn best when they’re engaged as content creators. In our social studies classes, students use Chromebooks to research concepts like civic engagement and share their findings with the class. Teachers can gamify these lessons by offering extra credit to students who post the correct answer on Google Classroom, a tool that allows educators to communicate directly with students as well as manage assignments.Our high schoolers are also using Chromebooks to work on in-depth projects and participate in learning experiences of their choice. A group of 12th graders produced a video about the founding fathers for American Government, while two juniors enrolled in a money management class recently placed second in a competitive stock market simulation, in which they virtual invested $100,000. Interdisciplinary projects like these immerse students in real-world topics while helping them develop critical skills, such as teamwork and planning.Fostering civic inquiry Chromebooks have helped our students better understand the world around them. Studying current events in our American government class, such as the presidential election, has encouraged students to question and critically examine their civic institutions. In a recent project, students researched competitive congressional races with their Chromebooks and organized their findings in Google Drive before presenting their findings to their classmates with Google Slides. We also used Slides to share the results of our school-wide presidential election. Without the easy-to-use tools in G Suite, it would have been much more difficult to conduct and share the results of our election simulation. These projects not only prepare students with practical knowledge that can inspire a budding passion, but also develop the analytical and presentation skills they will need to succeed as professionals.Shortening feedback loopsStudents tend to learn just as much from feedback as they do from completing an assignment. In [...]

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9 new ways that Google Cloud Machine Learning can help businesses9 new ways that Google Cloud Machine Learning can help businessesProduct Marketing Manager

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000

At Google, we have a rich history of exploring the furthest reaches of what machine learning can do to help increase access to information and improve our daily lives. For more than a decade, we’ve driven machine learning research that powers many of Google’s systems and products. Today, Google Cloud users across industries  — from financial services and healthcare to retail, web services and media and entertainment — now have mightier machine learning models at their disposal through our growing number of intelligent apps and cloud services.We’ve recently announced several machine learning updates across our public cloud and productivity services. Here’s a rundown of the latest products and features that can help fuel business intelligence, operational efficiency, productivity and collaboration.Maximize recruitment efforts: The new Cloud Jobs API uses machine learning to help companies hire great talent. By understanding the nuances behind job titles, descriptions, skills and preferences, the API matches job seeker preferences with relevant listings. Learn how it works.Analyze images faster, for less: We’ve improved performance and efficiency of our Vision API by taking advantage of Google’s custom TPUs, resulting in an ~80% price reduction for large-scale deployments.Translate long-form docs: For users that need long-form translation services, a new premium edition of Cloud Translation API uses a model tailored to increase accuracy on several major language pairs. This tool is built for particular business use cases, such as translating long-form emails and documents. We’ve also reduced the price of the standard edition for higher usage volumes.Better understand text structure and sentiment and turn questions into formulas: With Explore, Natural Language Processing translates questions into useful formulas and offers up instant answers in Google Sheets. And the new Cloud Natural Language API, now generally available, does a better job than ever before at identifying names of people, companies and locations in text. It also now offers improved sentiment identification and syntax analysis. Learn more.Supercharge cloud computation for complex jobs: With hundreds of times as many computational cores as Central Processing Units (CPUs), Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) are great for medical analysis, financial calculations, seismic/subsurface exploration, machine learning, video rendering, transcoding, scientific simulations and more. We’ll offer GPUs in early 2017 to Google Compute Engine and Google Cloud Machine Learning users.Find stored files on mobile nearly 50% faster: Customers can now use Quick Access in Google Drive on their Android devices to easily and instantly access files that they need. Machine intelligence works behind the scenes to understand individual user needs based on interaction with colleagues, recurring meetings and Drive activity.Use smart scheduling to save time: Our G Suite customers now spend less time finding the right time to meet. They can now schedule a time and book rooms with machine assistance that includes room suggestions based on previous bookings and time suggestions that account for conflicts easiest to resolve, such as recurring 1:1 meetings.Tap the power of Google Search to strengthen Docs content: Explore in Google Docs taps into Google’s search engine and machine intelligence to add suggestions based on content within documents. It recommends related topics, images and more for web and mobile docs creation.Format presentations faster: Explore in G[...]

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